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Philippine leader urges nations to exit global court

21 March 2018

"Insulto po iyang ginawa ni prosecutor na kinondena niya ang ating hukuman na para bagang inutil dahil gagana lang naman ang ICC kung ang lokal na mga procedure at mga hukuman ay inutil doon sa mukha ng impunity", he said, referring to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda who recently announced the inquiry into the drug war.

During last Sunday's Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation rites, Duterte said he announced the withdrawal of Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute to convince other countries to "get out" of the "discourteous" ICC.

But according to Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, that examination "violates the very fundamental basis by which we gave our consent to be bound by the ICC". "It should have been thrown to the wastebasket instantly", Roque said. Some critics of the president note that he can't withdraw the country from the statute by his own decision, but requires the senate's permission.

"It is imperative to conduct prompt, effective, impartial and transparent investigations of all cases of death leading to prosecution in all cases of unlawful killing".

"The so-called war against drugs is lawfully directed against drug lords and pushers who have for many years destroyed the present generation, specially the youth", Duterte said in a 15-page statement explaining his legal position.

It added: "The decision to withdraw is the Philippines' principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights even as its independence and well-functioning organs and agencies continue to exercise jurisdiction over complaints, issues, problems and concerns arising from its efforts to protect its people".

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Commission on Human Rights chief Chito Gascon said that the Philippines has historically been at the forefront of the fight for worldwide justice, but that Duterte's decision "constitutes a reversal that will be viewed as encouraging impunity to continue".

Under the Rome Statute's principle of "complementarity", the ICC serves as a last resort that could only assume jurisdiction in cases where a national government has failed to address global crimes.

"The government remains resolute in effecting its principal responsibility to ensure the long-term safety of the nation in order to promote inclusive national development and secure a decent and dignified life for all", it added.

"They can consult other sources of information - like NGOs (nongovernment organizations), other UN (United Nations) bodies, witnesses to be presented to them", IBP National president Abdiel Fajardo told CNN Philippines' The Source. "We are, however, confident that there is no crime or liability to speak of in the first place since our campaign against methamphetamines and other narcotics is a legitimate law enforcement operation created to protect all Filipinos and uphold the rule of law".

O-Gon also urged the Philippine government to have a dialogue with the Assembly of State Parties on the issue.

The notoriously outspoken Duterte has said "not in a million years" does ICC have the right to indict him for war crimes. "These are dealt with by independent and well-functioning organs and agencies of our State".

Philippine leader urges nations to exit global court